Now that she's the ripe age of 5, we can have real conversations, and they simultaneously make me giggle and pause in wonder. Her understanding is simple, and it's refreshing.
On Memorial Day, we were sitting by the pool under the patio covering because it was drizzling once again in dreary Dallas. But spending time with Miss Curly-Q, as we call her, brightened my spirit. I was painting a large tin trough in which my sister-in-law was going to plant flowers, and Ashley was fidgeting in one of those camping chairs with the built-in cup holders. Earlier that day, Ashley and her sister Maddie had made some chalk drawings on the patio by the pool. We started chatting as she began cleaning up:
Ashley: "Aunt Stine, I'm going to help clean up the chalk, and that will make Daddy happy."
(She walks over the the edge of the pool and begins splashing pool water on the chalk and rubbing it out vigorously.)
Me: “Ashley, that’s so nice that you’re being a good helper. You know Jesus is happy when you help other people.”
Ashley: “Yeah, and so is Daddy.”
Me: “Yes, but Jesus is even more happy than Daddy when you’re a good helper!”
Ashley (in her signature sing-songy voice): “Yes, and Jesus had helpers, too...like James and John.”
Nothing like a 5-year-old to remind you of what the Bible says. Then our conversation turned to family matters.
Me: "Ashley, do you know how your Daddy and I are related?"
Me: "Yes, do you know what that means?"
Ashley: “Yes, you’re related to Daddy because you LOVE him.”
Well, there you have it.
Somehow in my day-to-day adult life, I have severely lost focus. Somewhere in the mix of keeping a clean house, working 8 hours a day and then extra on side projects, making time to spend with my husband and girlfriends, and taking care of myself, I have lost the simple faith of a child. I have lost my simple trust in the Lord. And I want it back.
I've missed the deeper understanding that maybe, just maybe, doing something simple to serve someone else is how I can become a little more like Christ. Maybe what makes us "related" to one another in this big Family is that we simply LOVE one another.
Sitting by the pool sheltered from the drizzle, pondering life with a 5-year-old with golden curls and a trusting heart...I can't think of any better way to have spent this Memorial Day.
"Lord, my heart is not haughty,
Nor my eyes lofty.
Neither do I concern myself with great matters,
Nor with things too profound for me.
Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother,
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O, Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever."